Thursday, November 28, 2013

Canadian Poet Jim Bennett

Poetry is not all about gloom and doom; mostly, it is about the beauty of our language in an expression of reflection, life and yes, loss, but also about celebration and – as here in Jim Bennett’s case – a bit of tongue-in-cheek as well regarding his moniker image.

Of course, I asked him what it meant and I am embarrassed that I didn't guess. He kindly elaborated for me:

“There is a place in Up the Organization where Townsend says, what would a Martian make of this problem, understanding everything about life on earth except anything related to this problem? Explain it to this Martian, please? Since I was Application Architect, I asked 'the Martian question' often. So, as a joke, I had a globe of Mars on my desk, with the ambiguous figure 'Mowgli' looking at it.”

* * *

Putting on his serious poet’s hat, Bennett explains: “Poetry is about experience, and has the power to transmit that experience to readers; what it means to be alive and mortal.”

Here are the published volumes of
Jim Bennett’s evocative poetry:

Cold Comes Through

Life is about loss. In the end, we all die. Yet we may face illness and reduced capacity, expected and unexpected, with fear or courage, faith or despair. These fifty poems are about that experience....

Behind the Lime Kiln

This collection is about relationships. These poems were written for human beings living in today's world, that is, for us, and thus for you.

Hard Landing   

Fifty-seven unique, sometimes scary, experiences. This selection of poems is not for children, nor is it for squeamish adults. The collection probes unique personal problems of different lives in difficult situations.

The Scroll of the Violin

These poems cover a range of philosophy, religion, belief and unbelief: religious poems, atheist poems, questioning poems, and answering ones.

Jim Bennett not only writes poetry, he also leads workshops and participates in a regular writers’ group.

He is also a prolific and conscientious reader and critiquer for the Kindle Book Review (KBR). So far, he has done 48 formal KBR reviews, and some 14 informal reviews.

But before you rush off and send him your novels, let me tell you from experience that he is tough, honest, and very stingy with his five stars. And rightly so. We’ll never get better by being gushed over and coddled (sigh), but by receiving constructive critiques.


Jim Bennett began his publishing career in such literary magazines as The Fiddlehead, Event, The New Quarterly, and Prairie Fire.

He started writing poetry in high school. Mentored by an English teacher, and rekindled years later by Richard Ketchum of Humber College, Jim began creating and never looked back.

With a Masters Degree in Pure Mathematics, he became a programmer, designer, and eventually application architect. You’d expect Jim to be technical rather than poetic.  But suspecting poets rarely get rich by their work; hence he remained in this field to fund his family and his other interests.

Jim also takes pictures; all the images on his website are his, as are the cover images on his last two collections of poetry. He keeps tropical fish.

Jim Bennett’s poetry books can be found at Amazon

Print versions are available from the Lulu Store in paperback and as e-pubs:

I urge you to visit Jim Bennett’s website where you will find some great images and also a few interesting observations about life in today’s Canada.

Lastly, thank you Jim, for giving us a glimpse of the man behind the poet. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ancient Egypt at Its Best

Today, I am introducing you to an author who not only writes in my own genre (Historical Fiction) but in its very sub-genre closest to my heart: Ancient Egypt. Even though our chosen themes, or dynasties, are about two-thousand years apart, I have kept a keen eye on the growing list of the titles of 

L. M. Ironside

 Passionate about history, she began devouring adult historical novels right off her mother's bookshelf at age eight and never looked back. In high school, her history teacher assigned her Hatshepsut as the subject of a report. The report turned into a meticulously crafted scale paper model of Hatshepsut's mortuary temple, and Ironside's fate was sealed: she was a confirmed Egypt nut from then on.

She has just published her third book in a series bringing to life this enigmatic She-King who dared to declared herself Pharaoh (after conveniently getting her brother-husband out of the way).


The Sekhmet Bed

is the first volume of L. M. Ironside's series The She-King, a family saga of the Thutmosides, one of ancient Egypt's most fascinating royal families.

The Thutmoside dynasty saga continues with

The Crook and Flail.

In Sovereign of Stars,

Hatshepsut has fulfilled her divine destiny and taken the Pharaoh's throne.
But she knows her position is precarious.

Ironside tells me she is already working on the next in the series. “I'm still on target to finish the final book in the series around early January to have it out hopefully around the end of February, providing nothing crazy happens over the holidays.”

We all know how that can go – but I, as surely do her many other fans, wish her the very best of success.

Quite selfishly so, since we are all anxiously waiting for Book #4.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

"Ich bin ein Berliner"

Sadly remembering the 50th Anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, I thought it might be appropriate to share my poem about JFK’s June 26, 1963 visit to Berlin. The ‘cursed’ Wall finally came down on November 11, 1989.

 * * *

Peace: War’s Abandoned Grave

From its cachéd acorn womb
the seedling sprouts through pungent moss,
soon greened by a rambunctious spring’s exuberance.
The Westwind, taking pity, laughs and heaves
and trembles off the would-be devourer of tender leaves.

The sapling climbs toward the tranquil summer sky,
shading the meadow by the river,
until the Eastwind, cold and blustery,
defeats the balmy climes
and heralds in this city’s soon-to-come heart-breaking times.

Branches at half-mast, the tree holds silent vigil
against the rapings by lust-driven Ural-hordes.
Its meadow barren, flowers vanquished under iron treads,
the oak, denuded in the smoke-veiled morn’,
breathes acrid mist from the River Spree, forlorn.

Amber tears drip from the tree’s strafed bark
as the proud city, quartered by its raucous victors,
writhes in shredded ruin, a graveyard of the living dead.
A people torn apart, despaired,
as brother now must fear the brother whom war had spared.

A saw’s rasping bite takes hold;
the last tree topples at the cusp of dawn.
The oak’s green planks strain vainly toward freedom
from deep within the cursed Wall.
A fire-blackened church accuses, a grim reminder to them all.

The pendulum of time reverses.
Survivors hail their former foe.
To these living dead, abandoning their graves of war,
as if he were a citizen, but keener,
a young world leader avows peace with:
“Ich bin ein Berliner!”
* * *
From “Moments of the Heart, A Book of Poems and Short Prose”

Friday, November 8, 2013

New Work In Progress

 These are proposed covers for my new Work In Progress:


It is Book 3 of the Legends of the Winged Scarab

What do you think?

A                                            or                                             B

As an interesting Aside about this cover:

For CATACLYSM, I assigned an important part to a ghost ship that supposedly still plies the Atlantic Ocean. As devotees of mysteriously vanished boats continue to search for the real  Lyubov Orlova, believing that she still haunts the high seas, I imagined another life for this ill-fated vessel.
Built in 1976, she was named after a Russian screen siren from the 1930s. In 2010, she ran aground off Newfoundland. While being towed to be sold for scrap, the towline snapped. For years, the vessel drifted unclaimed without a living soul aboard—except for the rats.
Lovers of sea lore and old ships continue to look for the 328-foot Lyubov Orlova and even dedicated a website to her search:
Unless you can prove otherwise, let’s believe that she is still afloat, her golden First Dynasty tablets  stowed below, after they were saved from the Devil Winds KHAMSIN and SIROCCO
* * *

For easy comparison, here are the first two volumes (already on sale):